Dutch Design Week. An exhibition rethinking contemporary journalism

In Eindhoven, the collective exhibition “The New Newsroom. Reporting Redesigned” explores how we make information using new technologies.

“The New Newsroom. Reporting Redesigned”, exhibition view, MU, Dutch Design Week 2018, Eindhoven

If for 15 years Dutch design has been trying to expand the scope and possibilities of the project, it is not strange to see that the most interesting exhibition at Dutch Design Week 2018 speaks of journalism and communication. In a context of widespread knowledge, artificial intelligence, fake news and big data, design is now called upon to rethink the way we communicate.

The exhibition “The New Newsroom. Reporting Redesigned”, open until 11 November at the MU space in Eindhoven, collects experiments and analyses on how we produce, collect and disseminate information, beyond traditional journalism. We have to quote philosopher Marshall McLuhan for the millionth time: “The medium is the message”. Talking about media does not mean only studying the contents conveyed, but also the criteria, processes and infrastructures that organise the world of contemporary communication.

After what in America they call the Great Meme War, the world of information is no longer the same. The use of viral images by Donald Trump supporters led to his victory in the US presidential election on 8 November 2016. True or false, these pictures demonstrate the radical change in how we inform ourselves and how we communicate with each other. With social media, messages become increasingly superficial and fragmented, and commentary becomes almost more important than the message. How can we think of contents that adapt to this new era? Can education increasingly resemble entertainment?

“The New Newsroom. Reporting Redesigned”, exhibition view, MU, Dutch Design Week 2018, Eindhoven
“The New Newsroom. Reporting Redesigned”, exhibition view, MU, Dutch Design Week 2018, Eindhoven

Among the projects on show, the best known practice is Forensic Architecture, which we recently saw at Manifesta 12 Palermo telling some disputed cases of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, with three-dimensional representations that put various artifacts in audio-visual form. Here in Eindhoven we find them with the video Airstrike on the Al-Jinah Mosque, which reconstructs the events of the bombing of a mosque in Syria by the American army.

Architecture is used as an exact science in the service of truth. The work The Uncensored Playlist by the international collective Reporters Without Borders proposes a new strategy to overcome the censorship of some countries considered illiberal, such as China, Vietnam, Egypt, Thailand and Uzbekistan. The main streaming services, which have no limitations in these countries, are used as a trojan horse to pass on censored information: 10 prohibited articles have become the lyrics of 10 pop songs available in the 5 countries.

“The New Newsroom. Reporting Redesigned”, exhibition view, MU, Dutch Design Week 2018, Eindhoven
“The New Newsroom. Reporting Redesigned”, exhibition view, MU, Dutch Design Week 2018, Eindhoven

The interactive documentary The Industry: Mapping the Dutch Drug Economy, collects personal stories of individuals involved in Europe's largest drug market. Video interviews, maps, three-dimensional reconstructions and pills to spread on social media are designed in an integrated way for this report. Maxime Benevento’s work is instead completely analogical and more conceptual. He searches in the linguistic nuances of different idioms for a conceptual interpretation of what “news” is and what “propaganda” is.

Interactive and immersive, redundant and expanded, conscious or frivolous, analogical and digital: it is paradoxical to talk about these projects in such a traditional way, with a simple text accompanied by images. We just hope you’ve reached the end of this article.

Exhibition title:
The New Newsroom. Reporting Redesigned
Opening dates:
until 11 November 2018
Curated by:
Nadine Roestenburg and Angelique Spaninks
Artists on show:
Maxime Benvenuto, Arthur Boer & Boris Smeenk, Jim Brady, Arvida Byström & Molly Soda, CLEVER°FRANKE & Ai Applied, DROG, Forensic Architecture, Donghwan Kam, Rogier Klomp, Nicolas Maigret & Maria Roszkowska, NXS WORLD, Tjitske Mussche & Laura Stek (VPRO), Ruben Pater & Iris Lam, Reporter Ohne Grenzen, Telemagic B.V., Lilian Stolk, Joris Verleg, Coralie Vogelaar, VPRO & Submarine Channel, Alice Wong, Daan Wubben
Torenallee 40-06, Eindhoven

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